by Atong Ater - MMNN Contributor

In 2007, Indian Island First Nation, a small community in New Brunswick of less than 200 members, undertook a five-year oyster development program to expand its oyster aquaculture operations. The project was an effort to diversify fishing operations and bring economic opportunities to the reserve.

Indian Island, which mainly harvests lobster and snow crab, initiated its first oyster aquaculture venture in 1992. Then in 2008, backed by research from the University of Moncton revealing the possibility for a successful oyster aquaculture project, Indian Island began a five-year oyster development program. What would make Indian Island take on this ambitious project? “We felt we had access to an experienced knowledge base”, says Kevin Barlow, Indian Island Band Manager. “There were other oyster growers who could help us get the project on solid ground while we train our own people.” One of those oyster growers is Serge LeBlanc. As an oyster grower and biologist, Mr. LeBlanc has worked over 15 years to develop an effective way of growing oysters called the OysterGro technique.

Utilizing the OysterGro technique, Indian Island has substantially increased the oyster growth rates and long-term sustainability of their oyster farm. The OysterGro grow technique is superior to other growing techniques because it allows for the oysters to feed off natural nutrients in the water, so they do not require feeding. “By spacing the bags that hold the oysters and flippi ...

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